School Awards

So today was the awards ceremony for the school for seniors.  My middle  one got two awards that were a surprise to me–one MS Scholars Award and a BHS Citizenship Award.  Everything else I already knew about–STAR Student from yesterday, etc.  But she really was rewarded for all her hard work over the past few years.

Cleaned up this morning before I went–had Candy and Christy out to help clean up the kitchen and den and kids’ den for the party Sunday.  So we will see how it goes.

We go out to eat tonight with some friends of ours who also have a graduating senior to exchange graduation presents.  SO that will be fun tonight–we’re going to a Mexican place up their way.  We’ll eat late but that’s okay with them so it’s okay with us.

Going to go out and meet Bob for lunch at a pizza joint so that will be fun.   Then I’ll go to the grocery store then come home and do laundry.  I know I say I do laundry every day, and I really do. But I’m going to try to sort mine out completely and see if I can’t make room in my laundry room to actually work in there and clean it up this weekend.  Don’t know if it will work or not, but we will see.

SO it’s been a good day so far and hope it continues that way,  Hope everyone has a good weekend.



Awards Ceremony

Going today to the statewide banquet for Star Students in Mississippi here in Jackson.  My middle one is sharing the Star Student distinction with her best friend–they both made a 35 on the ACT so they split the award for Brandon High.   They get recognized at this event and get a luncheon.  I, trying to be supportive mom that I am, am going along to  watch and be a proud parent.

Then we go to her allergy doctor appointment.  Hopefully we will get done with the luncheon in time, but I think we will.  THe appointment is at 2 p.m.  So that will be over with.

Went to church last night and heard about the story of Joseph.  Very good sermon.  Talked about how he was set apart by God, and he spent time talking about two misunderstandings Christians often have about God–that he brings good about through evil and that we are foreordained to be saved or not.   Bro, David said that God overcomes evil with good, and that God does not ordain our end–he is simply sovereign over it.  So that was interesting.

WEll, I need to go get ready for the event.  Everyone have a good day!




Had our first glitch with Blue Apron.  Got our meals last night and they were completely wrong.  It would have been okay if one of the meals hadn’t been a fish dish, which Bob is anaphylactic-shock allergic to.  So we finally got to talk to the Blue Apron people this morning and they’ve given us our money back but we don’t get another shipment until next week.  So I have to go to the grocery store at some point to get food for the week.  And I don’t know when I can realistically that  with the schedule I have this week.  So we will see.

So tired this morning.  I had the goal of straightening out my laundry but haven’t done it yet.  I took my medicine early this morning and I don’t know if it made me sleepier or not.  I have an appointment at 10:30 a.m. so don’t have much time to put a dent in it.  But we will see.  I’m still trying to turn over that new leaf and did well yesterday so hopefully I can do everything I need to do today.

One more week of workshop next week then it’s time to turn in the final project.  We will see how it goes.  I don’t anticipate anything going wrong so I’m looking forward to the end of the semester.  It will be a while before I revisit nonfiction–I’m going to take four fiction classes and two drama classes then come back to the memoir for thesis.  I’m going to talk to my professor about what I need to continue to do on it Monday so we will see what comes of that conversation.  I’m going to ask her where I’ve improved since I first took her class and what I need to continue to work on.

So I need to leave for my appointment.  Hope everyone has  a good day and a good rest of the week.


Starting Over

I am trying to turn over a new leaf.  I’ve been going downhill ever since my daughter’s car accident, but I resolved today that I would do better than I have been. I stayed up this morning and went to therapy after helping Candy and Christy in the house.

I talked to Tillie about the accident and how I had been feeling.  I told her I was trying to just concentrate on the next thing to do at a time–the next thing being the birthday party Sunday the one after that finishing my school, then graduatio but not focusing very far into the future for fear I would get overwhelmed.  She said that sounded like a good plan.  I have a small something every day this week–a church counselor appointment tomorrow, an awards banquet Thursday for my middle one for being Star Student at her school, then Friday another awards day, then Saturday a studio dance competition. But I will get through it all.  I know I will.

I need to do two things before Friday–I need to finish up my school work then get my laundry straightened out. So those are my goals around all the other things I have to do.  I’m working on them–after I sign off here I’m going to ty to do my last class assignmet for the week.

Hope everyone has a good week.  THanks for continuing to read!


Went Out

to run errands this morning so that’s why this post is so late today.  I went and got medicine, a cutlery basket for the dishwasher, and put in a piece of my oldest one’s cross stitch work to be framed in time for her birthday.  SO I was busy this morning.  I also need to get something specific at the grocery store for Bob, but I can’t remember what so I am waiting for him to get home for lunch so I can ask him.

My event last Friday went very, very well.  I tried to be as positive and helpful as I could with everything I said, so I hope that came across.   Everyone else seemed to take the same tack so I hope it was a good event for everyone that attended.  I also think I brought a sense of humor to it all with a few comments trying to lighten up the topic of spiritual practice and mental health.

I worked more on my final project for class and think I have a good essay shaping up for the end of it as well as for Creative Nonfiction magazine’s call for submissions.  I’m going to hold off on sending it In to the magazine until after the residency in Columbus so I can have more eyes and ears on it  to make better revisions.  So we will see how that goes.

I am starting to get excited about the class upcoming in Columbus.  I hope nothing goes wrong that I can’t go.  I will be paying for it soon and hope that nothing derails it.




“You are Not Your Illness”

(reposted from September 2015)

“You are not your illness.”

Any doctor, clinician, therapist, and social worker worth their salt will at some point make this statement to you as a mental health patient.  You are a person, not “a bipolar”, or “a schizophrenic” or even “a borderline personality”.  It’s a major tenet of modern medical treatment.

But it doesn’t feel true to you.  You accidentally miss one of your meds and immediately you’re sucked into a vortex of moods, symptoms, or other manifestations of your illness.  You start to wonder.  Are you a personality?  Or is what you think of as “you” simply a balance of finely tuned chemicals?  And what happens to you when those chemicals get out of whack?

I felt this way for years.  I thought there was no other way for me to live except in constant awareness of my illness, which happens to be bipolar disorder.  So many aspects of my personality—such as my drive to succeed, my ability to multitask, my sometimes-outgoing/sometime-introvertedness—turned out to by symptoms of my illness.  I thought of everything that made me “me” in terms of how it related to my illness.

But then I decided that if God wanted me to be bipolar, so be it.  I started writing about my bipolar life.  I started a bipolar blog, Eventually the writings turned into a full manuscript.  I signed up for NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, in Mississippi so I could be a part of their speaker’s bureau, NAMI In Our Own Voice.  I went to meetings and events.  I was trained as a speaker.  I did a radio show, then a magazine article talking about my bipolar life.

All of it was geared to give people hope that if they were suffering from bipolar disorder, God can give them a semblance of a normal life.  I felt like I was doing all the right things—working, being a mom, being a wife, and doing it the best I could given the limitations I tended to live under.

Then I had a bomb dropped on me my last psychiatrist’s appointment.  He said my symptoms were “in remission with medication”.

And my immediate reaction was fear.  Not “You mean I’m cured?” but “What does that mean?”

He said that I seemed to be doing so well for so long that he didn’t see any need for me to change medication or limit my activities at school, which I was about to start in three weeks.  He said “Those aren’t words we hear often around here.”

I spent much of the next week in shock.  Did he mean I wasn’t bipolar anymore?  What about my anxiety about going to the grocery store by myself?  What about my tendencies to flirt with men?  What about my constant sleepiness, which I was fighting every day by drinking two can Cokes morning and afternoon?

I had gone from a person dealing well with a disabling condition to someone who didn’t feel equipped to face life’s ordinary challenges.  And I realized I had let my illness define me.

So now I am constructing another life.  I am a student at the Mississippi University for Women in the Master’s of Fine Arts program in creative writing.  I will write about my life with bipolar disorder, because remission does not mean I am cured of what has happened to me in the past.  But I will write about other things as well, because I am not defined by my illness.  I am Julie Whitehead, and that is all I need to be.


to stay awake and not winning.  I thought I was going to get more done this morning, but I wrote an essay around eight this morning then laid down around nine and just now managed to wake up for good.  I don’t know if the sleepiness is the harbinger of anything more interesting or not.  Ugh.

I need to do laundry today too and just don’t feel up to it.  The only thing I want to do is sleep.  I’m drinking another full loaded Coke this lunchtime to try and wake up some more–the one at breakfast just isn’t cutting it anymore.  I hate what this lethargy is going to do for my weight but I don’t know what else I can do.

I’m still looking forward to my event tomorrow and will see what comes of my participation in that.  I want to really present myself professionally and show them what someone in full recovery can do.  I just need to stay awake the whole time 🙂

Week four of the Blue Apron experiment is still going well.  I cook the meals on Thursday and Friday, everything is so fresh and tastes so good without my really trying hard at it. I just follow the directions.  It’s eased down my anxiety about getting ready to cook every night a great deal.  Bob seems to love it too.  THis week is porkchops in apricot sauce and turkey burgers. So there are some really nice combinations.



I’m back to feeling sleepy all the time.  I almost certainly don’t want to do schoolwork or housework today.  I just want to rest, stay in my housecoat all day and sleep.  I need something to key up my emotional energy, Maybe I just need to ride for a while.  I will have to think about that.  I have been riding in the late afternoon, just before everyone gets off work.  Maybe I can ride twice in a day.  We will see what I end up doing.

I wonder if there’s something in particular knocking me down lately.  I can’t identify anything changing except my middle one having that wreck last week and my whole life kind of getting cancelled because of it.  But that’s just part of the job, I think.  I should be used to it by now.  And I should be glad I have the opportunity to help now because soon she won’t need me around–and that time is coming around pretty quickly,  She leaves July 2 for Mississippi State University.  That’s not  a lot of time to organize things around here like moving her room downstairs and moving my youngest upstairs.  They’ll probably actually start that project around the end of April once the middle one gets out of school.

Here’s to me staying awake the rest of the day.  Hope everyone has a good rest of the week,




We’re having our Easter weather a couple of days late.  Thunderstorms yesterday and this morning,  I haven’t been caught out in it so I’ve been all right.  I am so tired today.  Bob had another bad night with his cough; neither one of us got any sleep.  I’m starting to despair him ever getting better without going to the doctor and doing some kind of serious intervention.  I don’t know what else they can do with allergies but something has to give around here.

I seriously don’t feel like doing anything at all but sleeping. I still have two workshopping essays  to do this week so I haven’t finished my class stuff yet.  My brain is just foggy,  I’m going to get another coke and drink it and see if it helps my concentration any.  I;m hoping I’m not slipping backwards.  I think this is just going to be an off day and if I get a good night’s sleep tonight that I can make it better tomorrow.’

I have the meeting with NAMI this week on Friday.  Hopefully that will go well.   I am looking forward to it.  I just hope it doesn’t become some kind of skirmish between God people and others.  I don’t know how it would get that way, but I can easily see it doing so.  I am just going to have to say “In my experience” a lot.

Been getting rejected lately.  Two pieces on bipolar that I had a lot of hope for were rejected.  They didn’t “fit” what the editors were trying to do.  I wonder what that means, because they were special issues: one about invisible illness and another about people on the “margins”.  So we will see if anyone else is interested.

I suppose I will just keep pressing on.  Hopefully I will wake up and not be so drowsy the rest of the day.



Monday Morning

Oh, I feel cruddy.  I’ve developed a little cough and rather than take Nyquil I took a prescription cough syrup last night and now I have a headache and am a little loopy feeling.   I hope it goes away soon; I’ve got too much to do this week.

So I bought the recumbent bike and have ridden it every evening since I did.  I get a pretty good workout in my legs riding it for about 15 minutes per day.  It’s not hard on my knees or my feet so I  call that good for me and my various ailments,  It’s just a nice easy ride here in the neighborhood.   I’m so glad I did this for myself.

Easter Sunday was a lovely day here–nice and warm and not rainy.  We went to early church and then went to lunch with Bob’s parents. So that was a nice time as well.  We spent Saturday day with my parents and enjoyed that.

My middle one get herself a new car–the insurance said the other one was a total loss.  So they got that taken care of and we pick it up today.  I don’t really feel good about doing that–I wish there had been more discussion about being careful on the road.  But maybe she’s at least learned her lesson about going too fast.

I have my seminar this week on Friday–I got get my hair touched up for it Tuesday.  I’m trying to decide if I want to wear an old dress that still fits or go buy a new one for the occasion. I think I will wear the old one–I feel good in it and confident in myself whenever I wear it.

Here’s hoping the headache goes  away.  Hope everyone has a happy spring!